Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ready for Panama

It’s certainly been a while, so I’ll just jump into it.

Since my last update, it’s been mostly routine weeks of lecture time, work duties, ministry stuff, and outreach team meetings. I love every part of this. I’ve been learning so much, about myself, Jesus, people, the Great Commission, forgiveness, all sorts of things. Aside from that, I have managed to slip one adventure in, more tame than the others, but still fun. Mikey took Andreas, Matt, and myself to a coffee farm south of Kona called Dragon’s Lair where he used to work.

The way there was pretty interesting… We got up to Walmart to wait for it, finally getting on 20 minutes late. Then, we rode around town for a while, only to see it make a stop 45 minutes later right in front of our building. Oh well. We ride on until we finally get dropped off at a town just at Captain Cook, just a few miles from our destination. We spy a pizza place, grab lunch, and walk just a short ways before we see one of the guys from around Kona next to a truck. The guy’s name is Cool Raoul, and he tells us to hop in. Always wanted to knock “Get a ride in the back of a truck owned by a guy named Cool Raoul” off my bucket list.

He dropped us off at the coffee farm, and I have to say I enjoyed that more than I’d expected I would. After a tour of the farm by Mikey, I saw the trees starting to blossom and grow coffee cherries, learned all about the process of getting to the actual bean, as well as the roasting process. The owners even invited us into their home, and we all sat around the kitchen table, drinking Kona coffee and talking about life together. It was a peaceful blessing, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Aside from this, the only other notable thing to talk about is my outreach team. As I’ve said before, I’m loving being a part of this unique group of people, and I can’t wait to get out and in the thick of it with them. It was just last night that we all had a Panama pizza party, eating as a family and just having fun. I am expecting for things to catch us off-guard in Panama, but I believe trials are a chance to grow, and I look forward to doing it with them.

I guess this brings me to the last topic, which is our “officially unofficial” plan of action. As it has been from the beginning (whether I knew it or not), this is still subject to change, but I think I can give relatively accurate information now. We fly off to Panama City on the 23rd, where we’ll stay until April 6th, helping with ministry at the YWAM base there. Then, we head west to Chiriqui to do the same there until the 26th. After that, it’s off to Bocas on our own until May 18th, which is when we’ll be working with the native villages on the island of Bastimentos, which is where the new YWAM Ships property is.

When all this started, I thought I knew what Ships was like. Ha, I thought I'd be on a ship. And when God said Panama, that went out the window, and was replaced by imaginings of wild jungle and finding villages. Now, with the new information I have, we're moving around, and visiting the already known villages, in places already scoped out by missionaries. Sure, these weren't YWAM missionaries, so we will be pioneering in the sense of building rapport for the people that will be working at the new base. But still, that was quite a change.

Seeing as change seems to be pretty common in life, it's something to figure out how to deal with. In praying about this, bringing my in-the-moment, real disappointment to God, He showed me something: my view was so narrow. I mean, the stuff I'd looked forward to was just what I'd thought of, which is never so creative and exciting as what He has in mind. I've a habit of simple planning. It's a good thing God takes it from there and throws a wrench in the works. Imagine if I went back to my home church, to my friends and family, and said, "Yep. Everything went just like I thought it would. It was great." How boring.

Bottom line, I'm totally psyched to do this new, improved trip, and I wouldn't change anything back. I've seen the Lord get me here, and the rest of the team, and then change it as we've gone, and I know He'll continue to do that while we're over there. Awesome stuff is going to happen, the way will be prepared for our futures, and we'll learn more about what God's like. And I can't wait to get started.

Onward, to serendipity.